A bloggers view on search in Europe: Francis Siefken

Thu 6 November 2008 15:49, Francis Siefken

A bloggers view on search in Europe: Francis Siefken

(Editor) Since Searchcowboys is just 'starting up' you might not know all our bloggers and what they stand for. We've asked our bloggers to write a post about their view on the European Search Market. What are their thoughts, how do they see the future of Search in Europe and what is the difference between US and Europe.

First up is Francis Siefken. Francis works as developer and client support engineer at FirstFocus, a fullservice SEO/SEM shop extending their search tools with the OnTarget platform. He has a background in both social sciences and information science. His blog posts will focus on the social media and marketing aspects of search, the semantic web and the occasional esoteric SEO technique.

Search cowboys need to grow up

The European search market is ideally suited for multi language optimization with an economy communicating mostly in a mixture of German, English, Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian. The additional traffic and leads one gets because of the language customization can be substantial, some estimate it to be 25%.

Developing and maintaining websites, tuning and optimizing them for each of these languages is timeconsuming and costly. These can - as any web and search cowboy knows - best be standardized by customizing an CMS. MODx, Drupal, Joomla and the whole spectrum of commercial CMS's already have or are starting to implement solid support for multiple languages, keyword controls, meta tags so each page can be tweaked and optimized.

Next to these essential information management tools the basis of a good search strategy is having a good practical and theoretical grasp of customer marketing. What information does the sender want to convey? What information is the receiver expecting? Which products or information services add value to the existing chain?

Which set of keywords convey the questions and expectations of searching customers best? Do you know which keywords the competitors use, how do they position themselves in the ongoing conversation in the marketplace? Translating knowledge of marketing and product management into a measurably working SEM strategy is key.

So... how to measure the outcome of these marketing interventions? One approach is "measuring is knowing". Monitor the pagerank, measure the inbound links, leads, visitors. Who are these visitors and what were they searching for? What's the buzz in the blogosphere and twittersphere? SEO needs to become an experimental science instead of the practice based on educated guesses, trial and error, the world wild west of the maverick search cowboys. Which tools do you use to implement and measure your SEO strategy?

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